Monday afternoon’s ceremonial groundbreaking at east Decatur’s Avondale MARTA Station signals the official beginning to a development that’s been a long time coming.
The city’s been eyeing the 7.7-acre site since 2003, but a proposed Decatur Housing Authority project in the mid-2000s was ultimately scuttled after a series of financial disasters.
This project, scheduled to break ground in December, includes three themes critical to the city:
- It’s considered an east-side gateway and the beginning of reforming what’s mostly been a light-industrial area for decades.
- Like all recent in-town developments, it has close proximity to transit.
- It has an affordable senior housing component.
According to Dillon Baynes, managing partner for developer Columbia Ventures, there will be 95 senior independent living units, 345 market rate apartments, 22,000 square feet of retail/restaurant, and a central parking deck for 800. Construction of phase one (there’s a much-smaller phase two planned) should take 22 months.
Baynes said Monday his firm is in “advanced discussions” with City Schools Decatur about including an Early Childhood Learning Center in phase one. It’s possible that a schools facilities committee, which has met regularly since September, will recommend this proposal to the school board during the board’s Dec. 13 meeting.